CDC director OKs coronavirus vaccine plan for health care workers, long-term care residents

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has upheld a vote by a panel of independent experts that health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities should be the first to receive the long-awaited coronavirus vaccine. 

“Dr. Redfield supports their recommendations and has signed the memo and accepted these interim recommendations,” reads a statement released by the CDC.

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Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has signed a memo supporting a panel’s recommendations regarding vaccine distribution. (Tasos Katopodis/Pool via AP)

The CDC director also “looks forward” to further recommendations, hinged on vaccine availability, that the U.S. should prioritize older adults over 70 living in multi-generation households. These households oftentimes pose a “significant risk” to “Hispanic, Black and Tribal Nations families” caring for the elderly, the statement continues.

“This framework, in addition to the [Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices] ACIP guidance, will ensure a more equitable distribution to those most at risk for hospitalizations and fatalities,” reads the statement.

The panel’s vote on Tuesday evening was 13-1.

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Aside from Redfield’s nod of approval, the plan to distribute the vaccine to health care workers and long-term care residents is also dependent on authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which still has to approve an application of emergency use from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, the first to apply, and biotech company Moderna. Both companies have developed coronavirus vaccine candidates that have proven over 90% effective in late-stage clinical trials. 

“If the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorizes or approves a COVID-19 vaccine, ACIP will quickly hold a public meeting to review all available data about that vaccine,” reads the CDC’s webpage, updated Thursday. “From these data, ACIP will then vote on whether to recommend the vaccine and, if so, who should receive it.”

Fox News’ Madeline Farber contributed to this report.